Well, no doubt I'll be in one again inside of 72 hours. But I just had a realisation that even while fetishising the best kind of bar, my long love affair might be souring. Sydney is supposed to be undergoing a much-vaunted 'renaissance' of its drinking culture. Clover Moore has made it easier to get a licence, and entrepreneurial groovers have responded by setting up these Melbourne style "small bars" - complete with hard-to-find unmarked entrances. Apparently, the grown up approach to sharing a bevvy with friends is supposed to make us more responsible drinkers too. That, or the prices. So I've been to Pocket Bar, Shady Pines Saloon, the recently re-furbed Flinders Hotel, LL bar in the Cross, Libertines, Grasshopper Bar where they serve cocktails in jars which is frankly GROSS and reminds me of a disfunctional student sharehouse, The Falconer, Madame Fling Flongs and probably some others.
I thought I really liked them at the time. I did. The warm glow of the candles/bordello lamps/ironic chandelier, the retro-funky stuffed animals, the background chatter, paying the best part of $20 for a martini and sucking up the meaninglessness of existence while talking about how great it is that they have all these small bars in Sydney. It just hit me like a brick, that they are all just rooms with tables, stools, glasses, some form of paint on the walls (or wallpaper if you are in the so-groovy-it-hurts ones), women with their best makeup and shiny frocks, and guys who are spending more on drinks that than they can afford. A limited number of permutations to the above. But I guess we keep going because these dens are usually central, the ritual of getting a bottle and some glasses is known, and you can generally catch your friends for a couple of hours and get back on a major public transport route.
Maybe I'm inspired to write this post by seeing a minor trend amongst women with small children, who may feel a bit like they are missing frocking up and going out. I think perhaps I have been racking up the hours in these places on your behalf. I've hit the limit. I'm experiencing low-level rage at the people in these bars. I can't really hear the person I'm talking to so I tend to tell stories and monologue too much. I spend money I'd rather go on holiday with. Mums: you can have some hours back - I'll take a couple of shifts with the ankle-biters. (Especially if we can go see Despicable Me, or the Dinosaur Gallery. Yeh).
As the well known poets regurgitator put it - right now, I'd rather dance in daggy pants to the funky music playing on your stereo. Oh. Oh. oh-oh.
In the meantime, see you at the next awesome new place. You know, the one with the wood panelling taken from a vintage Holden Station Wagon. The one with the stencils and the egg cartons on the walls, the one with the rooftop sculpture. The cactuses. Yeah, that one.